Luton was the first stop for new Bishop of Bedford, the Rt Rev Richard Atkinson, during his mini pilgrimage after his consecration at St Paul’s Cathedral.
On his visit he met Luton mayor councillor Syd Knight and the town’s faith leaders. The visit started with prayers St Mary’s and ended 18 hours later at St Paul’s in Bedford.
The Bishop’s wife Helen, a professor of engineering, was with him.
The couple travelled to Leagrave by train before following part of the Bunyan Trail on foot. They walked through places that were significant to author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan.
The bishop, who is a father of three, was delighted to include a rail trip in his travels and said: “For many people, a daily journey on a train connects them with their work. For others, trains are for leisure.
“I hope that by taking the train today, I am making a connection with the journey they make through their lives.
“All our journeys have an origin and a destination and can be lived on the ‘right lines.’ Whatever our background and faith, we are able to travel together while minimising our impact on the earth’s resources.”
The former Archdeacon of Leicester has become the bishop presiding over the Diocese of St Albans when it has just been revealed that over 80 per cent of the population wants the Queen to remain Defender of the Faith.
He said: “Even though John Bunyan was imprisoned for being a Non-Conformist, we can nowadays celebrate both the Church of England and Bunyan as expressing the diversity that we celebrate in our communities and churches.”
He explained: “I am passionate about the Church’s capacity to change all lives and communities for the better. I am committed to speaking up for the marginalised, poor and vulnerable. I pay tribute to the work being done all over the Diocese of St Albans, but especially in Luton and Bedfordshire.”